By Michael James LeClair
LUNENBURG – The Lunenburg boys’ and girls’ basketball teams kicked off their respective 2020-2021 winter seasons this past week. Each with a pair of games to officially get the campaign off and running.
Both Lunenburg teams began their pod schedule with home and home matchups with nearby North Middlesex Regional and both experienced mixed results.
The Lunenburg boys’ team began with a trip to Townsend on January 12 where the host Patriots were waiting for them. Despite a strong second half by the Blue Knights, the home team built a double-digit first half lead that proved to be insurmountable. North Middlesex locked up a 56-49 victory.
North Middlesex opened a 36-21 advantage through the first 16 minutes of play led by Mike Messina’s 12 first half points.
Lunenburg attempted to rally in the second half, outscoring the hosts 28-20 but the comeback attempt fell short.
North Middlesex’s Ayden McGrath finished with a game-high 22 points.
Lunenburg was paced by Will Peplowski’s 17 points. Sam Seminatore added 12 points and Patrick Blake tossed in 11 points for the Blue Knights.
The Blue Knights followed up their opening night defeat by welcoming those same Patriots to Lunenburg’s Memorial Gym three days later.
In the rematch, Seminatore torched the nets for 21 points while Peplowski tacked on 11 points to spark the hosts to a 52-44 win.
Also chipping in on the offensive end for the Blue Knights (1-1) was Blake with nine points and Tyler Hollifield with seven points.
Messina scored 12 points to lead the Patriots (1-1) while McGrath had 10 points.
On the girls’ side, The Lady Blue Knights also split their first two games of the season with North Middlesex as Lunenburg earned a 50-43 victory at home on January 12 before dropping a 41-30 road decision on January 15.
In the season opener, the Blue Knights limited North Middlesex to just two first quarter points to jump out to an early lead. Lunenburg maintained its cushion, opening a 17-point lead after three quarters 43-26.
Lunenburg’s Lauren Blomgren scored led the winners with 12 points. Miranda Boulay notched 11 points and Lauren Ruggiero scored 10 for the hosts. Gabby Durham netted 11 of her game-high 20 points in the second half for North Middlesex.
In the second game of the home and home matchup, the host Patriots rallied with a strong second half that saw them outscore the Blue Knights 32-19 to pick up an 11-point triumph.
North Middlesex’s Julia Landry led the charge for the Patriots with a game-high 14 points with 12 of those points coming from the charity stripe.
Blomgren led the offensive attack for Lunenburg by scoring 10 points while Boulay, Bella Petricca and Autumn Tibbetts each scored four points for the Blue Knights.
As they will with every opponent this season, the two Lunenburg squads will battle each team twice, once at home and once on the road. Both Blue Knights squads will play neighboring St. Bernard’s Catholic High School this week. Beginning on Tuesday evening, the Lady Blue Knights travel to the St. Bernard’s Activity Center in Fitchburg while the Lunenburg boys’ team will welcome the Bernardians to Memorial Gym. On Friday, January the two squads will switch venues as the boy’s team will travel to Fitchburg and the girl’s team will remain at home.